M. Çelikpala is a well-known analyst of Caucasian people’s associations in Turkey. Whilst other researchers like Alexandre Toumarkine and Lowell Bezainis have studied them, this article focuses on these associations’ lobbying and influence on Turkey’s foreign policy. The author first distinguishes migration from diaspora. While the Jewish and Greek diasporas are set as perfect examples of the phenomenon, the author recalls that the Caucasians’ presence in Turkey results from massive migrations first in the late nineteenth century, then in the 1920s after the imposition of Soviet rule over the whole Caucasus. M. Çelikpala shows the diversity of these organisations, each community being divided along tribal lines and along various political currents. According to him, from the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1924 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, these migrants’ associations had relatively poor impact on Turkey’s foreign affairs. However, the independence of Transcaucasian countries in 1991 was a major turning point in the life and development of Caucasian associations in Turkey, as they turned to be empowered by the awakening among Caucasians of strong ethnic identities. M. Çelikpala provides a richly detailed insight on the associations and federations of Caucasians’ associations, on how they operate and on how they impact on the Turkey’s foreign policy through demonstrations, petitions and even participation in official meetings with diplomats. The pressure that they exerted on Turkish diplomacy was especially striking when the two sides, Abkhaz and Georgian, were involved into an extension of the conflict in the Turkish media. Second, in the first and second Chechnya wars Turkey was exposed to intense lobbying pressure by Chechen associations. The richly detailed analysis successfully shows how these associations and movements do endeavour to exert influence on Turkey’s foreign policy.

Bayram Balci, Centre for International Research and Studies, Paris
CER: II-7.3.B-590